HANSON — The Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, Dec. 15 voted to approve a draft special permit decision, with approved adjustments, for Impressed LLC’s proposed marijuana product manufacturing business at the town’s industrial park.
The Zoning Board of Appeals, for its part, approved the draft site plan approval as prepared by and with conditions assigned by town counsel.
Selectmen and the ZBA continued the public hearing for a special permit pertaining to the proposed for 15 Commercial Way back on Nov. 17.
The hearing had been continued regarding drainage and wastewater filtering, HVAC systems for odor mitigation and tax revenue to the town.
“Any waivers we would make or permits we would allow, a condition of approval would be conditional on Conservation Commission approval,” ZBA Chairman William Cushing said. “Since ConCom has jurisdiction over storm water, we should defer to them.”
Town counsel agreed with that assessment.
Installation of the HVAC system must undergo an independent third party peer review, by a firm hired by the town, to obtain a certificate of occupancy and a building permit, paid for by the business. After discussion, Selectmen changed the requirement to an engineering audit.
It also empowers the Zoning enforcement officer to issue cease and desist orders if problems arise from violations of the permit if an investigation were to conclude that took place.
Selectman Matt Dyer voiced concern over whether an independent auditer would know what they are looking for in conducting the inspection.
“Or be better qualified than the inspectors you have already hired,” agreed Selectman Wes Blauss.
“We need to ease up a little bit and deal with being more welcoming to businesses that do want to open up here because I don’t want to scare away businesses over permitting,” Dyer said. “I know what it’s like. My dad has a lot in town he was interested in doing something with, and at times, he was just ready to throw his hands up and walk away.”
He questioned whether other companies would want to bring start-ups to Hanson in view of the “nightmares” that have gone on.
“With the engineers looking at it and having it reviewed, I think it’s good enough,” Dyer said.
Selectman Laura FitzGerald-Kemmet strongly disagreed.
“I think our role is to be welcoming to businesses, but this is the first business of this type that we’ve had,” she said. “What’s the point of having a hearing and having people express what their concerns are … if we’re not going to advocate for the citizens.”
She said that she supports Impressed LLC and business in town generally, but said Dyer’s concern about discouraging other business is a false argument.
“When you’re operating a business of this size, $2,000 [should not be prohibitive],” said Cushing, noting the cost of a peer review should not impose a hardship on the business.
Impressed LLC co-owner Ralph Greenberg said his company was willing to facilitate an engineering audit if the town required one.
Selectmen voted to approve Police Chief Michael Miksch’s recommendation to appoint Richard Bekerian as a full-time police officer, effective Feb.1.
Miksch said the switch to a regional dispatch system cost the department its five civilian dispatchers and needs four sworn officers — to work in-station — to keep the station open.
“We’re kind of finishing up that hiring,” Miksch said. “We had somebody scheduled for an academy. They’re not able to take that academy in early February … and we have an alternate (Bekerian) lined up.”
Bekerian, of Bellingham, grew up in Whitman and has been a police officer in Hopedale for the past two years. He was an auxiliary officer in Whitman before that. Bekerian has also worked as a diesel mechanic and a building superintendent in North Easton.
“He wanted to be a police officer [so he] left his job as a diesel mechanic, sold his house, moved back in with his parents and used the funds from selling his house to put himself through a municipal police academy at the State Police Academy,” Miksch said. He took a job at Hopedale because it was the first department that was hiring. He wants to join the Hanson department because he and his wife, who is from Weymouth want to come back closer to home.
“He’d be a great addition,” Miksch said.
Bekerian must pass medical and psychological examinations and a background check before he is sworn in.
Selectmen also approved memoranda of understanding with the police union pertaining to collective bargaining — including a 2 percent cost of living increase — and emergency dispatch issues.
Wording regarding the impact on work hours from the shift to a regional dispatch center was tabled until the next round of bargaining according to that MOA.
Selectmen had also voted during an executive session to approve a 2 percent raise for Chief Miksch, effective Jan. 1.